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Published on December 24th, 2010 | by Grant Webb

10 Reasons to Love Christmas Who!

The Christmas Season and Doctor Who are possibly the two greatest things to ever come together. How brilliant it is to have presents, a good meal and a festive edition of our favourite television show and all on the same day?

In the festive mood, I’ve decided to list together 10 reasons why Doctor Who is best at Christmas, and hopefully get you in the mood for the newest seasonal tale, A Christmas Carol.

1. Guest Stars

Doctor Who always has the ability to attract the best actors in the business for an episode or two, but Christmas time always brings in the most treasured and talented actors to take on a role.

I cannot describe the joy I had when David Morrissey was announced for a role in The Next Doctor – but even better that he could have been the next Doctor after David Tennant. This man is an acting legend, anyone who has seen State of Play can tell this guy has incredible range.

Jackson Lake is probably Russell T Davies’ best written characters, and who knew that Morrissey could beautifully portray a broken man, lost and so confused after the murder of his wife at the cold hands of the Cybermen on Christmas Day television – the day where everything is supposed to be happy and joyful!?

Catherine Tate’s first appearance as Donna Noble undoubtedly made a split opinion, and whether you loved her or loathed her, this woman brought some gravitas to the role – being funny, heartbreaking and brave all within the space of an hour. I was one of those people at the time who knew she’d be a brilliant companion, and with hindsight it’s not hard to see.

Of course Catherine Tate wasn’t the only actress to bring some doubt to a Christmas Special. Kylie Minogue in Voyage of the Damned did bring out the cynics in some people since she was the pop megastar – but she was brilliant. Considering her episode got almost fourteen million viewers, it’s not difficult to see that her appearance may have been stunt casting, but as the late great John Nathan-Turner knew, you have to get exciting actors to keep people watching, and I think that’s what a Christmas Special does best.

When you’ve got Coronation Street on ITV and competitive film channels on the other side, you have to go bigger to compete in the Christmas television market and offer treats for the viewers.

Voyage of the Damned is a prime example of Christmas extravaganza; it has one of the best ensemble casts ever seen in Doctor Who, massive explosions and even bigger special effects. Following this trend it is quite surprising to see that A Christmas Carol is very much a smaller character piece compared to the bigger Christmas concepts, but when you’ve got Michael Gambon in the cast, how can you go wrong?

But I’ve got a feeling one of the biggest surprises this Christmas Day viewing will be Katherine Jenkins – yes, I sighed a little when I heard she was announced to play Abigail Pettigrew, but I reckon we’ll be treated to something very special and that has nothing to do with the fact I quite fancy her, too.

2. Theatrical Soundtracks

Christmas Day offerings of Doctor Who always include a jazzy, sassy and exciting score penned by the maestro team that is Murray Gold and Ben Foster. The Runaway Bride is my personal favourite, how on earth could you not love the funky ‘Love Don’t Roam’ or the exciting score for the TARDIS motorway chase?

I still get goose bumps listening to The Next Doctor’s heartrending score and The Christmas Invasion’s wonderfully upbeat ‘Song for Ten’. Definitely music worthy for the MP3 player.

3. Demented Christmas Values

Russell T Davies certainly served up unique Christmas values when it came to Doctor Who Christmas Specials, especially when he twisted and moulded into something completely horrific and unrecognisable. I’ll never look at my Christmas tree again after Davies unleashed the idea they might spin to life in your living room and splatter your bodily parts over the Christmas presents and turkey dinner on the table.

And he didn’t stop there – Robot Santa’s with giant musical bazooka weapons, Killer Robot Angels with razor sharp halos sharp enough to chop off your head and the true meaning of Christmas feasting with a rather ravenous Master, ready to eat homeless people and entire Christmas turkeys in seconds flat. What that did to a generation of children, I cannot possibly imagine.

4. Radio Times

There is nothing like walking into your local newsagent to pick up the Christmas Edition of the Radio Times to finding your beloved Doctor Who on the cover – gorgeous and elegant. This has been a tradition for the last five years, and long may it last. The cover for this year’s pre-Christmas edition screams Christmas for me – Matt Smith in a Christmas hat and snow – how can you go wrong?

A Radio Times cover is always the signal that those presents should be wrapped and put under the tree and that those Christmas Cards should be sent to friends and relatives, all ready before December 25th!

5. Publicity

Following on from the Radio Times is the publicity that Doctor Who gets over the Christmas period. Last year’s Never Mind the Buzzcocks had a wonderfully mad Doctor Who Special which brought David Tennant, Catherine Tate and Bernard Cribbins on top comedic form.

It is almost impossible not to see some guest star or actor on the BBC Breakfast sofa talking to the loveable Bill Turnbull and Sian Williams about why we should all be excited for the next Doctor Who Christmas Special and always gets me in the mood when an ‘exclusive clip’ is shown to make me squee with delight.

I for one will be watching Matt Smith on The Graham Norton Show on Christmas Eve – the prefect way to build excitement up for the best part of Christmas Day.

6. Presents

Christmas is always the perfect time to get that Doctor Who gift you’ve wanted all year, and providing you’ve been good, a hopefully-non-robot-killer-Santa will get you something with that infamous BBC logo etched on the bottom of the box.

Here’s hoping I get my Series Five DVD box set this year, previous Christmases have given me the joys of walkie talkie Slitheen, Dalek toys and The Writer’s Tale – the Bible of all things Doctor Who. Children and adults alike will be celebrating on Christmas Day this year when they get their well deserved Tom Baker underpants and K9 fridge magnets… hey, wait a minute!

7. Watching with the Family

Doctor Who is one of those shows all the family can watch on Christmas Day, which is quite rare in my house. Kick the surplus relatives out of the front door before quarter to six and make sure that washing up is done – watching a much loved British institution with the family can sometimes be the best part of Christmas Day – that and presents, and Christmas Dinner and of course those brilliant hats that come out of those Christmas crackers.

8. Snow

It’s not Doctor Who without snow, and despite The Christmas Invasion, The Runaway Bride and Voyage of the Damned not actually showing real snow, it doesn’t take away the delight that snow really makes a Doctor Who Christmas Special! Okay – we may not all be loving the snow right now, shovelling the front drive left right and centre – but being snug on the sofa watching the Doctor save the day in snow is so wonderful to see.

Who can forget the Tenth Doctor’s final struggle to walk to the TARDIS in the Powell Estate, 2005 – the snow flowing past him so elegantly and the beautiful ‘Vale Decem’ inspiring him to carry on. I will never forget that moment - as will a generation of fans - since once that episode finished I went outside and it started to snow.

Oh – the blubbing idiot that I am, stop it!

9. Next Time Trailers

C’mon, you know who you are. Any healthy Doctor Who fan will be watching the clock for the last five minutes of A Christmas Carol wondering what the Series 6 trailer will be offering. The Christmas Invasion’s next time trailer at the time ramped my excitement up to eleven when the Cybermen, Sarah Jane Smith and a scary screaming Anthony Head were revealed in all-too-brief images.

As a fan it is easy to see why we love those trailers so much – they give us the best inkling of what is to come in Doctor Who which won’t be back for at least three months. There is nothing better than enjoying a Christmas Special, seeing the next series trailer and feasting on mince pies as you surf the forums to discuss the obligatory ‘Was that the Rani I saw in the next series trailer?’ thread.

10. The Joy of Christmas

If Doctor Who at Christmas can do anything, it’s pull at the heart strings. I was thrilled at the end of The Christmas Invasion when the Tenth Doctor and Rose looked into the night sky for new adventure and when Mr Copper joyfully danced into the night when he realised he could live a life on Earth with ‘a house and chairs’ at the end of Voyage of the Damned.

Even when the Doctor was alone and hurt at the end of The Next Doctor, he found solace in Jackson Lake’s persuasion to have Christmas dinner with him and his friends. Brilliant old Doctor Who, finding the best in people in the season to be jolly! Doctor Who and Christmas are the best of friends – it is only a shame this partnership only comes once a year.

Have a Happy Christmas, to all of you at home!

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